Serving as the directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman and inspired by true events, People Like Us follows salesman Sam (Chris Pine) who, while settling his recently deceased father’s estate, discovers he has a sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), and nephew, Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario), whom he never knew about. As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink his perceptions about his family and his relationship with his mother Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer), and to re-examine his own life choices in the process.
As the directorial debut by Alex Kurtzman, People Like Us tells a moving and somewhat engaging story. It won’t break your heart, but it might make you shed a tear.
Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks make decent leads in this family drama, both giving very heart-felt performances. Banks’ character, at first, comes across as quite unbelievable as it’s a role that we’re not used to from her, but her character is well-developed so it works much better as the film comes to an end. Pine doesn’t give a break-out performance either, but it’s always nice to see him in a lead role, though his character did need more of an emotional impact. It was Michelle Pfeiffer who stood out for me, though, as it was when her character was on-screen when the tears started to flow. This wasn’t something I expected from her performance so her role certainly makes a large improvement. I also feel that it’s worth mentioning a small supporting role by Mark Duplass, but there really isn’t a lot else to say about it!
The only real flaw with People Like Us its confusion of genres. Everything about this film calls out ‘romance’, but it would be terribly wrong for it to be so. Unfortunately, it was something that the film couldn’t have avoided considering its premise, and it was also something that made the story line predictable in places. At the same time, however, it could have been dealt with a lot better. Instead, the film deals with the story line as many others have done before, so it doesn’t go beyond anything we’ve already seen.
Without any specific breathtaking moments, there is still something quite beautiful about People Like Us, and I certainly look forward to more dramas from Kurtzman in the future.
People Like Us was released on DVD on 18th March.